Halloween Middle and High School Language Arts Activities

Halloween middle and high school language arts activities

Integrating Halloween middle and high school language arts activities into your classes.

I know that not every teacher uses Halloween as an opportunity for themed-lessons—for a variety of reasons.

However, if you do integrate Halloween into the classroom, I have ideas for you. And? I honestly did not put Halloween into my classroom early in my career. My belief was that I needed to focus on content, to keep students grounded.

However, as years went on, I realized that my classroom management and relationships with students improved when I acknowledged my students’ excitement from outside sources. My students—teenagers—enjoy spooky language arts lessons.

How can you incorporate spooky literature into middle and high school language arts classes?

Incorporating spooky literature into middle and high school language arts classes can be done through activities such as reading and analyzing Halloween-themed short stories or poems, discussing the elements of suspense and horror, and even creating their own spooky stories or writing Halloween-themed essays.

Overall, we write about fall, we color pumpkins while studying grammar, and we read mysterious literature. Here are five Halloween activities for secondary ELA.

Halloween middle and high school language arts activities for a variety of teachers

Parts of Speech

A brief review of the parts of speech helps overall lessons in several ways:

  • With vocabulary. Standards ask students to manipulate words, to use words in a variety of ways. Before they can change “manipulate” to the noun form, you might need to review parts of speech.
  • With clauses. Review parts of speech before teaching noun, adjective, and adverb clauses. Students feel empowered, and I can bridge off prior knowledge.
  • With advanced writing. As students advance in their writing, they construct longer and denser sentences. Unfortunately, lacking a strong understanding of the parts of speech can hinder their proofreading efforts. Frequently, this struggle exists with conjunction use and misplaced and dangling modifiers.

Plus, this cute pumpkin coloring sheet makes for perfect Halloween decor in your language arts classroom.

Fall Narratives

When I taught middle school, I spread out the narrative standards over the entire school year. To organize the narrative writings, students wrote about the season with the structure based on their five senses.

This organizational structure helped in several ways. One, students could personalize the senses in a way that made them comfortable. The season holds different meanings to each individual, and this freedom allowed students to be comfortable in what they shared. Two, they had a starting point for organizing their paragraphs.

Halloween middle and high school language arts activities do overlap, but typically, themed-narratives such as this fall writing one leans more toward middle school. Creative writing for the season, however, spreads to high school students too.

The Haunting of Hill  House

The Haunting of Hill House

Most students are already familiar with Shirley Jackson because they have read “The Lottery.” Since students enjoy her writing style, introduce The Haunting of Hill House for First Chapter Friday, independent-choice reading, or book clubs.

Personally, I think The Haunting of Hill House is an underrated story. The novel ends ominously, and Jackson was ahead of her time regarding her portrayal of psychological anguish in literature.

Students may be familiar with the show by the same name which always increases interest in a book choice.

interactive preposition activity for fall

Falling for Prepositions

When I taught middle school, I differentiated grammar lessons a handful of ways. Task cards and station work became my best friends because I could rotate students where they needed practice. Plus, when students spread out, I could direct students to practice in multiple ways in confidence—kids were on the other side of the room and didn’t hear their peers’ assignments.

One differentiation method involved interactive notebooks. My prepositional pieces allowed for students to place prepositions (printed on leaves) around a tree. Students practiced location pieces (prepositions!) with a fall-themed activity.

When I discontinued using interactive notebooks, I gave students paper with a tree for them to add their leaves. I actually liked this way better because the finished products decorated my room in time for parent-teacher conferences.

Poe activities

Edgar Allan Poe

Students find Poe interesting, and even though his stories are complex, they enjoy his work. I think part of the interest exists because so much about his life remains unknown, a bit mysterious, and so teachers typically cover him around this spooky season.

Since Poe has a variety of texts from “The Raven” to “The Masque of the Red Death,” his stories fit into Halloween middle and high school language arts activities. Plus, his language and literature lends itself to a variety of standards.

The Monkey's Paw

Short Stories

Scary short stories are not specific to Poe, however. The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs is all chilling tale that can engage middle and high school students during the Halloween season.

This story offers opportunities for students to analyze literary elements such as foreshadowing, symbolism, and theme. Additionally, they provide a platform for discussions on moral dilemmas and the consequences of human actions. Finally, “The Monkey’s Paw” has several sections. Assign different sections for close reading, and then assign critical thinking questions to conclude.

To increase interest in these scary stories, teachers can incorporate activities such as reader’s theater performances, class discussions on the psychological aspects of fear, or even creative writing assignments.

Halloween middle and high school language arts activities.

These five ideas for Halloween in the language arts classroom are teacher-tested.

But, are you looking for basic, less spooky October language arts lessons? I share mine so that you can see my lesson plans during the fall months. Check out that list to see an overview of plans for starting the second quarter of the school year.


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